With the injury to Torey Krug being announced just days ago, the Bruins now find themselves without three defensemen from their opening day roster. It’s been quite the roller coaster for the B’s, as they’ve had to manage a poor start while coping with the preseason trade of Johnny Boychuk.
Yes, I still believe it had to be done.
If you’re going to be critical of the Bruins’ front office for moving Boychuk now, in wake of these injuries on the back-end, I would advise you to save your breath. Obviously the trade looks really bad now, but all of these injuries are unlucky if anything. You can’t predict the frequency and severity of these ailments regardless of your disdain for Peter Chiarelli.
It’s also redundant to keep talking about a guy who isn’t a Bruin anymore.
Zdeno Chara’s injury was obviously the most brutal pill to swallow. He’s an aging player which obviously hurts his ability to recover at a quicker pace, despite being the freak athlete that he is. Z is also the most important player on the team’s defense for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s the powerplay, penalty kill, massive minutes every night and presence on and off the ice; the Bruins do not have a player that can fill his shoes for any length of time.
Fortunately, he’s only going to be out 4-6 weeks.
His injury had the potential to be a blessing in disguise given the fact that it would’ve allowed some of the younger Bruins’ defensemen to play bigger minutes and develop into larger roles with the team. It also would’ve allowed the big man to rest up in an effort to avoid burning out come playoff time. Unfortunately the injuries to Kevan Miller and Torey Krug have all but dampened those hopes, as the team has found itself substantially shorthanded for one of the most important months of the season.
Last night was another reminder of a trade prior to the beginning of the season, in which a beloved fan favorite Johnny Boychuk, was shipped to the New York Islanders in exchange for 3 draft picks. Though the trade needed to be done to free up sufficient cap space; it still left a bitter taste in the mouth of every single Bruins fan.
“Why didn’t they just trade Chris Kelly”? They said, “Matt Bartkowski sucks, why not him”?
It’s essentially the same pissing and moaning I have grown accustomed to from a continually spoiled Boston sports fan.
While I have a “take him or leave him” attitude with Bartkowski, I can’t say the same about Chris Kelly. Whether or not you like him, you can’t deny that he has far and away been the best player on the B’s so far this season.
Through all 8 of the B’s games so far this season; Kelly has 2 goals, 7 assists, and a +4. He is currently tied for the team lead with David Krejci. Yes, Krejci’s only played 6 games this season and put up the same numbers, but I expect that from a number one center. Kelly is a third line winger/center on this team, and typically plays a more defensive role. He leads all forwards on the team with an average of 2:18 minutes of shorthanded time per game, and has seen literally seen 40 seconds of powerplay time all season.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear that Brad Marchand is coming into camp with a “chip on his shoulder”, and the best shape he has been in as a pro yet, I assume he is going to turn that into results on the ice.
Before we focus on his play through the first 8 games, let’s take a look at this “chip”.
The media in Boston, many of whom (including myself as a suggestion), alluded to the fact that he may be a trade candidate. He obviously began to take this stuff very personally, and used it to drive himself in the offseason.
I can’t say I blame him for reacting the way he did to the news. It has to be tough to play in a city you love; you have won in, and sacrificed in, only to find your name on the chopping block again and again. I always feel bad for the players that are traded from places.
We’ll talk about whether it was a fair trade or not, and the player will be picking his kids up from school and putting them in another school with strangers in a state or possibly country (often the case with older players). It is an unfortunate part of the business, but these are things you accept when you’re a pro.
The departures of Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton in the offseason, and the injury to Gregory Campbell to start the year; left room open for a few young Bruins’ prospects to grab a hold of an NHL job.
Guys like Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Bobby Robins (technically not a youngster), Alex Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith, Justin Florek, Craig Cunningham, and Matt Lindblad all had the chance to battle for a spot and run with it.
Let’s run through how each of them faired with the opportunity. I should warn you, it’s depressing.
Let’s start with Bobby Robins; Robins won a job out of training camp after he showed tremendous heart and determination. I have never really thought much of him as a player, but even I couldn’t deny that he had earned himself a spot.
Robins rewarded his own efforts with three scoreless games and 14 penalty minutes, including two spirited bouts, and a kneeing penalty against the Washington Capitals, which all but killed any chances of the team winning that game. If a star takes a penalty, it can be easier to swallow given their status and contributions to the team. If a role player like Robins takes a bad penalty, it hits twice as hard given their lack of contributions to the team. Robbins is currently on waivers for designation to Providence.
To be fair; it really isn’t all his fault. The game has passed players like him by. The goon age is at an end.
The Boston Bruins have announced today the signing of veteran forward Simon Gagne to a one year $600,000 contract. This deal comes on the heels of another disappointing loss where the offense failed to get on track for the third straight game. It is also a necessity given the lack of production from any of the young forwards who have made the club out of camp.
Guys like Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner had solid training camps which earned them NHL jobs, but have not been able to provide the secondary scoring the team needs right now as guys like Milan Lucic and David Krejci recover from lingering injuries.
Simon Gagne isn’t necessarily going to solve the B’s offensive woes, not by a long shot really, and I’m not really sure when he will play, but he will be a good veteran option in place of the above named youngsters. He will also be helpful on the team’s piss poor powerplay.
I imagine that when he starts he will see time on the B’s fourth line and slowly work his way up. I would ultimately like to see him slot in with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly, perhaps in an attempt to finally let Loui Eriksson mesh with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
Gagne has 288 goals, 309 assists, and a +129 in 799 NHL games. He is making his return to the NHL after sitting out all of last season.
In other news; the Bruins has also put Bobby Robins on waivers for designation to the Providence Bruins, and sent Jordan Caron down. It would appear as if both players’ NHL dreams are in jeopardy.
You can follow me on Twitter here: @Mattjacob64
Today marks the beginning of the Boston Bruins’ 2014-15 season. The offseason hasn’t necessarily been filled with a ton of moves, but training camp has had plenty of activity which will impact this season.
The biggest move came just days ago in the form a trade. Johnny Boychuk was shipped to the New York Islanders in exchange for two second round draft picks and a conditional third. This trade has been met with a bunch of criticism, but Peter Chiarelli didn’t really have a choice. He got a great return from a player who he simply would have lost at the end of the season.
It is easy to say that he could have gotten rid of Chris Kelly, Matt Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid, or Gregory Campbell, but he would have a very difficulty time moving any of those guys for a variety of reasons. Whether it be cap hit, no movement clause, injury history, or something else; the Bruins’ brass didn’t really have much a choice other than Boychuk. Most team’s probably didn’t want anything to do with those other guys.
So where does this move leave the rest of the team’s defense going into the season? Well… for starters it makes the D a little weaker. I don’t think they are going to crash and burn by any means, but losing a warrior like Boychuk does hurt.